GoFro.com - A Travel Marketplace For Indians Travelling Abroad
The travel spends by Indians on travel are $40 billion and expected to grow to $80 billion by 2020. Leisure travel, both International and domestic, is the biggest, most profitable, and fastest growing segment and stands at 40% of the overall market.
GoFro is India’s revolutionary online marketplace for travel, created with an objective to empower the modern traveller with flexibility of choices and a fulfilling sense of independence. GoFro is the flagship product of Bonavita Technologies Private Limited which was founded in the year 2015 by tech innovator and travel enthusiast Amitabh Misra. The company provides a complete solution for all travel booking needs including convenience, best prices, transparency, expert assistance, and ancillary services. The company is backed by Indian Online Travel Company MakeMyTrip.
BWDisrupt Team Member Sujata Sangwan Interacts With Amitabh Misra, Founder, GoFro.com, And Spoke To Him
How did the entrepreneurial bug bite you?
At heart, I am an Engineer, a creator. I am driven to create solutions to real life problems that affect folks around me. Therefore, I have always wanted to be part of innovative technology start-ups. During my days in Silicon Valley, I worked at three such ventures. My role and journey in my previous job at an ecommerce company, where I built India’s largest online marketplace from scratch, is further reflection of the same.
Entrepreneurship thus, has never been an end goal for me. I founded GoFro because I felt it could become a means to empower the modern Indian traveller and make holidaying an enjoyable experience.
What inspired you to start this business?
I am an ardent traveller and have been fortunate enough to explore beautiful places across the globe. From my experiences while planning my trips, I know that the most important thing in making a trip fun is the freedom to build it basis my interest, budget and people I would be traveling with. Additionally, advice from folks who are experts in the destination is always helpful. However, planning a holiday can be very cumbersome process. That’s how GoFro was conceptualized. It was born out of the firm belief to empower the modern traveller with flexibility of choices and a fulfilling sense of independence. Our mission is to offer an intelligent solution to make holiday planning, consulting and booking a transparent, self-reliant and enjoyable experience. Through GoFro we hope to make the whole experience from planning to travel very enjoyable.
How are you different from the existing ones?
With GoFro, we aim to bring the power of marketplace to travel. What that means to the consumer is availability of unlimited choices at great prices all bundled in a personalized offering. If you see the travel landscape currently, the need for the marketplace is apparent. If you are planning a trip to Europe, a typical customer would reach out to at least 3-4 travel agents and go through their product offering and pricing. To complete the deal, he/she would visit the offices of some, if not all the options under consideration and only then finalise the deal.
A travel marketplace would make the whole process much easier and convenient. This is similar to the impact product e-commerce marketplaces have had on physical goods retail.
There is a growing section of Indian customers who want to do customised holidays. A travel marketplace platform for such customers would be able to bring the best rate offered by various suppliers for hotels, flights, activities and transfers and dynamically create a package that would be best priced saving customer the hassle of spending days speaking to multiple travel agents to customise a trip basis his needs.
Given the importance of expert advice while planning for international holidays, GoFro has pioneered the concept of an action oriented messenger service called the GoFro Messenger that enables customers to interact with destination experts over an itinerary and make changes and customize the itinerary in a live environment. This allows customers the convenience of customizing online while not losing out on the advisory aspect provided by travel agents thus getting the best of both worlds. Such a product does not exist in the current travel ecosystem anywhere in the world.
What is the funding status & monetization model?
GoFro has raised $5 million in funding so far. The startup aggregates packages and package components from various suppliers, dynamically packages it together and make a commission on every sale that is made on the platform.
What challenges are you facing in running your business?
The biggest challenge is building a great team who believe in the GoFro vision. Second, building a marketplace platform for travel, which is far more complex and hard to build, compared to those in product commerce. Finally, building supply.
What are the traction details?
It has been over 2 months that GoFro has been in operation. We have received great feedback from customers who have taken our trips on the quality of service and the price competitiveness. We are happy to have crossed Rs 1 Cr/month revenue with a positive contribution margin in the first few months of operations and are looking to scale up quickly with focus on adding more supply, destinations and things-to-do, targeting 100% growth month on month.
What is the market size & opportunity?
The annual spends by Indians on travel are $40 billion and expected to grow to $80 billion by 2020. Leisure travel, both International and domestic, is the biggest, most profitable, and fastest growing segment and stands at 40% of the overall market.
What advice you want to share with the new entrants in this space?
An overarching thought that I would like to share is that India is entering a golden period of growth and Travel will be at the forefront of that growth. The Travel industry is not only helping more and more Indians experience the world, it is a great contributor to India’s GDP and one of the biggest employment generator. Also, India’s strength in technology is second to none in the world. Indian youth has boundless and energy and enthusiasm. So I would encourage new entrants to enter the world of travel tech, dream big, take bold bets, work hard and persevere. Odds are great that you may be on your way to building globally great corporations of the future.
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